Monthly Archives: February 2018
Written by Karimi Gatimi. Edited by Jehan Abhayaratne
Jane, 36, was pregnant with her second child when she first noticed that her left nipple was inverted. She assumed that because of her pregnancy, it had something to do with her milk duct.
It was only after the birth of her baby that she realised something was amiss and the doctor insisted that she needed to have a mammogram and other tests done on her breasts. As if in agreement with the doctor, Jane’s newborn baby refused to breast feed from her left breast.
Four months after giving birth, Jane took the doctor’s advice and underwent tests at Kenyatta National Hospital ( Kenya’s largest referral hospital and only national radiotherapy centre).
She was in shock to learn that she had stage two breast cancer.
“I had no idea about cancer and I didn’t believe them, because I was not in any sort of pain. Besides, no one else in my family has ever had a cancer diagnosis.”
The doctor took time educating Jane on her condition. He also told her that it was curative but that she had to have immediate surgery done. The KSHS 100,000 surgery cost was prohibitive for Jane. She turned to her friends and family who held a mini fundraiser to support her treatment. She managed to have the surgery done at a mission hospital that operated on her at an affordable rate.
After the surgery, Jane was required to undergo simultaneous chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The little balance from the fundraising was exhausted and she could not afford to pay for radiotherapy.
It was during one of the chemotherapy sessions at Kenyatta that she shared her predicament with a fellow patient who informed her about Faraja. When she finally gained the courage to visit Faraja, she was at her wits end and had lost all hope.
“I kept wondering what would happen to my two children if my application did not succeed but I left it to God, I filled my form and left.”
After two weeks, while undergoing her third cycle of chemotherapy, she received a call from Faraja’s Patient Support Manager- Phillip. Faraja was going to pay for her radiotherapy treatment.
“To say that I was happy is an understatement. I was ecstatic. If it wasn’t for my chemo port, I would be dancing in the ward. Finally, I could complete my treatment and be with my family.”
Jane, who earlier on in this interview looked forlorn, suddenly looks up and takes a deep breath before speaking.
“I am going to come back and support Faraja in their work. What they have done for me, only God can reward them. But I’ll support whichever way, with whatever I can. One day, one time, I will come back to bless them too.”
Editor’s Note: Jane’s radiotherapy treatment wasfunded by the Natalie Fund, a sub fund created within the Faraja Medical Support Fund ( FMSF) to financially assist young mothers with breast cancer. To learn more about FMSF click here